In an domestic American setting, the young man slouched against the dirty wall of his workplace would have probably have been questioned, maybe even arrested. People were not too kindly to those of Russian descent today. However, this was not a domestic setting. It wasn’t American, either.
Unfortunately, this was war-torn South Korea, and the young man dressed in bloodstained white was a surgeon. His white cap, intended to keep his hair tame during surgery, was askew, choppy brown locks matted with sweat. His skin was artfully pale, accented by the incredibly dark circles beneath his tired eyes.
His head snapped up when the doors to the Operating Room swung open, some barely patched up kid being carried out. One of the corpsman, a young man named Thomas, nodded, “It’s the patient, Captain. He wants
to say something to the doctor who put him back together.” The young surgeon dropped his gaze to the boy’s half-covered face. He couldn’t be more than sixteen. Probably used his brother’s birth certificate to get in.
"S-Sir…" the boy stuttered, "I heard a lo-lot about you-you. Y-You-You’re kinda fa-famous, you kno-know.” His arm lifted from underneath the blankets, thin fingers gripping his savior’s hand with a shaky smile, “Than-Thank you, sir. I-I’m Nic-“
He was silenced when the doctor pressed a hand over his mouth, “Look, kid, I’m just doing my job. You’re gonna waste my effort if you keep talking and wear yourself out. Tom, get this kid into Post-op. He needs some nursing from somebody who actually went to school for it.”
Thomas grinned, “Yeah, right away, Captain. Oh, by the way, can I call you by your nickname? You said I could if you ever called me Tom, sir, so…” He got playfully shoved onward, along with a slight nod before the surgeon resumed his off-duty stupor against the wall.
"Captain Jones!" shouted a man roughly six feet away. "I thought you were told to go to bed, Captain.” The way his supposed superior spat out every word made the captain wish to wipe his face. God, he hated the army. Almost as much as he despised the major walking towards him.
What an ass . “Or are you busy being a gloomy little Commie? Plotting our demise, right?”
He opened his tired eyes, angry violet clashing with Major Harrison’s blue orbs, “My name Is Alexander Braginsky, Harry. You could at least try to realize that people below the rank of Major do have their owns names. I know it must be hard when you’ve got to impress every nurse you see.”
The other officer was visibly shaking with rage, attempting to intimidate the captain with sheer force of will. He wasn’t successful, seeing that Alexander towered over him by at least a foot and packed enough muscle to put his whole family to shame. “‘Harrison,’ you idiot! You will address a higher-ranking officer correctly, Jones!”
The Russian (though his mother was American) shut his eyes and turned away, heading to his tent to collapse. He really didn’t want to deal with Harrison’s Bullshit, especially after he’d sewn various children and teenagers together for seventeen hours. His feet ached, his eyes shut every few steps, his hands throbbed…He ended up tumbling on to his cot with a heavy sigh.
"Not a Communist…" he mumbled into his lumpy, army-issue pillow. With the softest of grunts, he flipped onto his stomach, half off of his bed in slumber. He had a faint sensation of warm and kindness, and he woke to a rising sun. Or was it setting? He had no clue which way
he was facing. After several moments, he decided it was morning.
He must have actually slept for a while, because his head didn’t feel very heavy, nor did his limbs ache quite as terribly. However, Alexander knew, after nearly a year in this fucking outfit, that peace and quiet was the last hing his unit would ever have. Sometimes, he wished the occasional bombings were more fatal, so he could just be
shipped home in a box. Maybe he’d even be buried in Russia, in his father’s home town.
He could hear Harrison snoring in his own cot, and he snarled quietly. Being an officer had many setbacks, including the fact that he had to share quarters with his Royal Pain-in-the-Arse. The Russian wondered whether it was wise to head to the Mess. Probably not. Most of what was offered was surplus-in-a-can. Real appetizing.
There was a rap on the door, provoking Alexander to drag his uncomfortable pillow over his head, “Tom, I swear to God, I’m going to rip you a new one if you’re not here for an emergency.” His response must have been muffled, because the door was knocked on again. “Fuck,” the surgeon mumbled, sitting up to nod at the orange-haired corporal, “Yeah, come in. I’m only half-dead. Any bad news could only improve me.”
"Liar, sir…" Thomas began, smiling cheekily once he used the nickname. Alexander knew exactly how it started, and he did not appreciate how quickly the name stuck. He flopped back on his cot, waving for the enlisted boy to continue. “Liar, the commanding officer wants to speak with you and Major Braginsky, sir.”
Alexander made a face, not at all looking forward to having to deal with his over-promoted brother. The guy was a menace when not working.
"What, did Harry blow the whistle on his ass again?" Thomas could only shrug helplessly, handing the doctor his bloody boots. Alexander didn’t remember taking them off, but he was never one to question Life’s oddities. Okay, he was, but he didn’t really care.
He shuffled through the camp, waving to a couple of nurses in bathrobes and getting winks in return. Maybe he’d indulge in a few creature comforts before going back to sleep. The brunette was wearing glasses…Mm…He snapped back to his meeting, shouldering the door to the clerk’s office and nodding to Thomas’ bunkmate, Nikolas. The black-haired kid nodded to the open doors, wincing when Thomas smacked his back.
The name plaque on the desk read “Ken Wilder”, as that was the man seated behind said desk. He was tall, only an inch or so shorter then Alexander and looming over many of the people who called this rat farm home. He was older then the doctor, about twenty-seven, but was perhaps more spry and friendly. Blonde hair drawn back in the shortest of pontytails, Ken waved to one of the seats, shaking a finger when Alexander propped his feet up on the desk.
His glasses glinted a little when Andrei Braginsky sauntered in. He resembled Alexander in many respects, though his hair was more of an amber (as well as longer) and his eyes proved to be blue as the sky of the States. He winked at his brother, swiping his thumb over the
corner of his mouth and licking it, “You called us, Kenny?”
"Well," Ken started, lacing his fingers, "I’ve been getting
complaints. According to my painfully annoying source, you two have been ‘nothing but trouble’. I would tell you to straighten up, but I just don’t see the problem, y’know? God, I can’t see my hand in front my face half the time, so, who did it?”
"Did what?" Andrei asked innocently, perching himself on an army-issued chair and fluffing his hair.
"Who left a used condom in Harrison’s boot?" Ken asked bluntly, eyes flicking between them. Alexander stared for several seconds before a smile slipped onto his face, followed by a round of loud laughter. He nearly tipped onto his back, wiping a tear from his eyes. Ken looked very disapproving, “Alexander, let’s try to be serious here. He yelled at me for half an hour.”
Andrei smiled knowingly, “Well, I wouldn’t know anything about it~! I was awfully busy in my tent…Unless you want me to go fetch the chap who was doing me a great service.” Ken quickly shook his head, shuddering a little before sighing softly.
"Look, Andrei, I know you are just following your heart, and you’re staying safe. I appreciate that. But please, please, please stop tormenting Harrison. Alexander and I get the heat when you do! It’s bad enough with you trying to knock anything that moves, but Nik just got word. A British unit got hit pretty badly about an hour ago. Five guys need surgery.” Ken was on his feet and pacing by the end of his little tirade.
Alexander groaned quietly, “Great. Wonderful. Call us in, lecture us, and then we get to go put British guys back together. Why can’t we just ship them to the States and operate there?” Ken turned a slow glare on the Russian, earning a worn sigh, “Yes, sir, I know. I’ll go kick Harrison.” Another glare. “I’ll go prod him with a ten-foot pole, then.”
Once his brother clomped off to scrub up, Andrei scooted his chair closer and leaned on Ken’s desk, toying with a little Japanese doll on his desk, “Sooo, how is everything? Back home, you know.”
Ken shrugged, tapping a framed picture on his desk, “Dave’s having a hard time. I need to get home, Nice.” He paused, sighing once he realized he’d slipped up and used the Russian’s nickname. “Ugh…But you get it, right? I…I need to see him and let him know I’m really okay.”
Andrei giggled, standing up, “Well, you know, we could always let Harrison operate on you. If you’re really lucky, you’ll only have one amputation.” Ken snickered quietly before waving the man out and staring at his photograph in pained silence.
The ambulance barreled over to the O. R., carrying the five men that Ken had mentioned as well as a couple from a Greek unit. Alexander knelt beside the stretchers as they were laid out. They were the Greeks; both were wounded pretty badly, and the younger one was in
shock. The surgeon shouted orders at Thomas and the medical personnel who materialized once the vehicle pulled in, assuring the other man that he would be fine in broken Greek.
Andrei knelt by one of the British soldiers, dabbing at his forehead for a moment before smiling calmly. The dark-haired young man opened hazy onyx eyes, voice raspy with dust and blood, “Where are Luzifer and Lucian? Who are you?”
"Major Andrei Braginsky, soldier. If you are speaking of the men you arrived with, they’re all being taken care of. Don’t you worry.” He nodded to Nikolas, lifting the stretcher up and moving the British man to Pre-op. He bumped into the scrub room just in time to hear Harrison let loose with a barrage of insults aimed at Alexander.
The older Russian solved the problem very calmly by suggesting that the major take dancing lessons from the North Korean snipers. He shifted over to allow Andrei to wash his hands and forearms as well, drying his hands. Andrei gowned him up, the snap of sterile gloves finalizing his brother’s transformation into a sterile life-giver.
Alexander entered the OR, glancing over the three tables with a professional eye. The two Greeks would be taken care of by Harrison and Ken, though the Captain would prefer to work on them himself. It appeared that Andrei, being one of the finest scrub nurses in South Korea, was working with the major. Thankfully, that meant that nothing could go too badly.
The third man was, obviously, one of the British soldiers. Alexander stood beside the man while Beth, his preferred surgical partner, laid out instruments. The Russian glanced at the man’s face before freezing, eyes caught. He blinked but couldn’t escape those grey as steel eyes. He had a very heavy accent, one that unexpectedly thrilled the surgeon.
"…Colonel William Spears," he rasped, wincing slightly with pain, "When was I hit, Doctor?"
The doctor grinned behind his mask, “About two hours ago, Colonel. You’ve got some lead in your gut, a couple of fragments in your left leg, and a broken arm. Need anything before we gas you?” Colonel Spears nodded shakily, motioning with his good arm for Alexander to
come closer. He bent at the waist, a few inches from the man’s face.
"I’d like to see the face of my surgeon before drifting off, if it’s not too much to ask.” Alexander glanced over at Beth, who tugged his mask down for a moment. The Russian turned back to the Brit with a soft smirk. His patient had a very content look on his face, “All right. Knock me out, Doctor.”
Soon, he was safely out of the waking world, leaving Alexander with the ability to operate without looking into those mysterious grey eyes. He shook himself for a moment, focusing on the blood oozing out of the young colonel’s body. After a while, he couldn’t help but notice that something wasn’t right. Beth seemed oblivious, but Alexander was almost certain that certain portions were mutilated before belief, and when he went back, there was seamlessly healthy body.
It seemed that once he removed the metal lodged inside of the man, the area healed itself slowly. He stared as a rip in Colonel Spears’ colon sealed in a matter of minutes. He ignored the abnormal happenings, continuing to extract metal. The man’s bones didn’t mend themselves, or at least not as quickly as his muscle and skin.
Alexander set the Brit’s arm, sewing together the gaping hole in his stomach and the gash in his leg, since that didn’t appear to be fixing itself. With the lightest of sighs, he ordered the freaky patient into Post-op, calling in the second Brit while shedding his gloves. Karlie replaced them at his behest.
The second man, an short-haired albino major named Sebastian Spears, proved to be just as extraordinary as the man Alexander assumed to be his brother. His chest was a mess, but soon on the mend. Beth still seemed totally unaware of the anomaly. The Russian decided that he would question them about it later, opting to finish up on them.
He quickly realized on his fourth of the Brits that they were all this way. He felt like he was flipping out a little until Andrei, now assisting him with “Luzifer Spears”, leaned over with concerned look, "Am I going crazy? There was a hole here." He kept quiet, nodding once to respond. Andrei looked down, reading the silent hush easily.
Ken sensed their rather heavy atmosphere, but he left them alone. Andrei finally cornered his brother once they finished taking off their bloody surgical clothing. “Did. You. See. That,” he bit out, earning a slight nod.
"I don’t know what it is, all right? They’re weird, but I’m glad I didn’t have to do as much work. You bug the younger three. I’ll take care of Sebastian and William.” Alexander avoided thinking about why exactly he wanted to speak to the British colonel and major. “By the way, Ken wanted you in his office.”